As school’s enrollment increases, headmaster works to lift city ordinance

Next year’s high-school student population will reach 144, and next year’s fourth- through ninth-grade classes will be filled to capacity, according to Brooke Wells, head of high school, and headmaster Stephen Repsher. In addition, the admissions office is optimistic that many eighth graders will remain at SCDS for high school.

Long-time history teacher Sue Nellis said that the last time that the high school was this large was during the 2010-11 school year.

Wells said he has never seen Repsher expect so many classes to be filled so early in the year, and suggested reasons behind this spike in interest.

“A whole bunch of positive forces have come together,” Wells said. “People are starting to realize that the education at Country Day is unique to Sacramento.”

The recent development of school buildings, the improving economy and real-estate prices add to the appeal of the school, according to Wells.

Nellis agrees that the economy has contributed to the school’s size.

“I have seen these trends up and down over the years,” Nellis said. “As the economy improves, parents have more money and are more willing to spend it on education.”

The expectation for next year’s class sizes also led to Repsher’s approaching the Board of Trustees to propose an attempt to change the city ordinance that restricts the maximum number of high-school students to 144 and overall students to 544.

“It (the ordinance) puts us at a disadvantage compared to schools like Jesuit, Christian Brothers and St. Francis, who can have 1000 students,” Repsher said. “We need to lift the ordinance so we can grow.”

If this city ordinance, also known as the Conditional Use Permit, can be lifted, SCDS would aim to have 180-200 students in the high school, Wells said.

“(The teachers and students) would still be able to be familiar with all the students,” Wells said. “We would have more flexibility in terms of electives or sports. The same person wouldn’t have to be in multiple extracurriculars to keep them all going.”

If the high school were allowed to grow, three sections of every core class would be offered, instead of the current two, to keep section sizes at about 16. Nellis said she would feel fine teaching an additional section.

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